Symphony Space Explores a Topic “Close to the Heart” of All New Yorkers

Symphony Space artistic director Isaiah Sheffer said the subject of last night's Selected Shorts reading at its Broadway venue is one all New Yorkers can relate to.

"This topic is most definitely close to the heart -- and close to the walls -- of every New Yorker,” said Sheffer, artistic director and host of the Selected Shorts series, on Wednesday night.

The reading, Apartments and Neighbors, was dreamed up by longtime New Yorker Sheffer and his producer Katherine Minton, both of whom believed the topic was "quintessentially New York," he said.

 Sheffer spoke about elevator etiquette "for the benefit of civil life" and other interactions with folks in his building when he went up on stage.

“A lady in my building would always say to me, 'Well, we asked for it,'” he said. “I never had a clue what we asked for … I usually just murmured, 'We sure did.'”

Actors Jefferson Mays and Leenya Rideout were also on hand to read short stories about apartment life and neighbors as others spoke from personal experience.

James Braly, member of The Moth storytelling organization, talked about trying to find food for his family during the 2003 Northeast Blackout. Since all the stores were either mobbed or closed, the only food he could scavenge was Sun Chips, Progresso Soup and Clif Bars.

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